Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: He is Henry the Eighth, he is

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  • Lewis Holden,

    Luckily there's a sunset clause (s17). I'd be happier if there was a super-majority requirement to repeal that.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    thanks Graeme. A number of us have been coming up with other equally possible scenarios. Brownlee could abolish any requirement for people in Remuera Khandallah and Fendalton to pay any rates. Etc etc etc. Sweeping away 500 years of carefully developed constitutions is not to be done lightly.

    Maybe Thomas More might protect us?

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    In fact Lewis, the bill would allow the Minister to set aside the sunset clause . . .

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

    So the Minister could order the election of Jim Anderton as Mayor of Christchurch to be nullified- and no one could do a thing about it

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 183 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Meanwhile, conservative thinker "BustedBlonde" tweets:

    whats w/ all the communists who wnt 2 paralyse ChCh cos they think a group hug is needed b4 & restoration decisons r made? #eqnz - idjits

    I think that puts things in their proper perspective.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2906 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    In fact Lewis, the bill would allow the Minister to set aside the sunset clause . .

    Nope - s17 is protected. But Brownlee gets to be dictator till 2012, and change almost any law he feels like. Even if he won't, the mere fact that he can is intolerable in a democratic society under the rule of law.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1592 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    So the Minister could order the election of Jim Anderton as Mayor of Christchurch to be nullified- and no one could do a thing about it

    Yes - the Local Eelctoral Act is not protected from such Orders.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1592 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    Nope - s17 is protected. But Brownlee gets to be dictator till 2012, and change almost any law he feels like. Even if he won't, the mere fact that he can is intolerable in a democratic society under the rule of law.

    I got it wrong. But a perfect example of why law should not be passed in such a hurry.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Dean Knight proposes a more sensible alternative.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2906 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Surely proper democratic accountability and the rule of law is *more* important in times of difficulty. Holding politicians to account means they might think about their decisions, and the law provides another way to review them.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4221 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    With all that glass falling and crashing around the place. Is there any mention of Jews?

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1459 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Oh..and is the mining act included? Gerry Mander is about.

    Or possibly....

    When sections 6 to 16 cease to applySections 6 to 16 cease to apply on the earlier of the following:

    (a) a date specified by the Governor-General by Order in Council made on the recommendation of the responsible Ministers; or

    (b) the close of 1 April 2012.

    Could be an early April fool.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1459 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    It occurs to me that they could use this to sidestep a loss of confidence and supply.

    Having the power to change any law by Order in Council means they can just amend supply to continue forever (well, until April 2012, which is after their term expires), and the government can already just refuse to call a parliament. If the courts object, Brownlee can sack the judges and appoint himself Chief Justice.

    Tell me I'm wrong!

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4221 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    So lets see for starters:

    (a)the Building Act 2004: Don't worry about the 66% of the building code needed in new buildings in Chch.

    (b) the Cadastral Survey Act 2002: What? The land moved? Sorry, that bit is now mine Mine MINE!

    (c) the Commerce Act 1986: Buy my car why don't you. Only a little bit of brick damage. No, my house wasn't affected by the earthquake sir.

    (d) the Earthquake Commission Act 1993: There shall be no more earthquakes! E&WD? What's that? Gone by lunchtime.

    (e) the Health Act 1956: More hospital beds and services?? Hahahahahaa till your head falls off.

    (f) the Health and Disability Services (Safety) Act 2001: Injured from trying to fix you house? Sorry ACC won't cover that because you did not fill out the requisite form(s) in the correct order before the 4th Spetember. AND you acted without the authority of the Minister!!!

    (g) the Historic Places Act 1993: What old attractive building? Oh that one...just disappearing in a cloud of dust and debris...don't worry, you won't know it's gone in 10 years time. Replaced by this wonderful 20 story apartment block. Great isn't it?

    (h) the Land Transport Act 1998: We'll just shift this little 'ol motorway a wee bit more towards Hagley Park. You know, that piece of waste land. Hagley Park is just a swamp now the Avon has shifted it's course. Wait one. Did you say swamp? Whoa....could be a good place for a house...or even more than one!...Where's Dave Henderson...Building Act? Earthquake Commission Act? Hahahaha other head falls off.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1459 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    That list of Acts is a red herring. They can change any act, so the effect is as if it wasn't there (especially as no court can review it).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4221 posts Report Reply

  • Ed Muzik,

    It hasn't been a good year for democracy fans in Christchurch - first ECan, then this. And now that the election has not been delayed, there will be very major issues with the campaign. I am running for community board, and we had 9 meet the candidate meetings / mayoral forums set up, from last week till the close of polls. All have been cancelled. So while Bob Parker tells us he's too busy to campaign, whilst spending hours a day fronting for the cameras for whatever reason, the public have had almost all chance of local democratic interaction stripped from them. I would like to think that people are engaged with the political process, I really would; but sub-40% turnouts would suggest that it was a struggle at the best of times, and it certainly isn't the best of times down here right now.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    And the law passed unanimously. What are you going to do now, Graeme?

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1592 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    It's probably more comparable with Muldoon's National Development Act.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3908 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    And the law passed unanimously. What are you going to do now, Graeme?

    You seem to be of the view that the only parties contesting the party vote are currently in Parliament. This is an erroneous assumption. However, I will also check what concessions were obtained before the bill passed.

    Also, note that my promise began "If anything even remotely dodgy is done under this law...", I can also hope that nothing does.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2971 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Only one: the commission is now subject to the OIA. All the rest were voted down.

    And yes, I suppose you could always vote for the Worker's Party.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1592 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And the law passed unanimously. What are you going to do now, Graeme?

    Can't speak for Graeme, but E-Day Plan B is always an option: Do the laundry, a grocery shop, change my library books then have a nice lunch. Perhaps a movie in the evening if there's anything good on.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11621 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Hey, worked for Labour voters at the last election..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15752 posts Report Reply

  • Grassed Up,

    Is s.6(3) really a privative clause that purports to exclude the courts from examining the lawfulness of an Order in Council? It tells courts that they can't look at the Minister's advice to issue one - but this advice isn't the same as the Order itself.

    I read s.6(3) as excluding review of the Minister's decision making process (i.e. no review on natural justice/relevancy of considerations criteria). But review of the vires of the final Order - is it within the purposes of the Act - is not excluded (even if the courts paid attention to such a measure ... which they won't).

    Since Nov 2008 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    I just wanted to add my voice on this. It disturbs me greatly.

    It's a familiar story from history: emergency, unanimity, no scrutiny. You don't need to be paranoid about Gerry Brownlee's secret Idi Amin fantasies - it's all too easy for things to go wrong even if the decision-makers have the very best of intentions. Or start with them, anyway.

    Perhaps the most worrying aspect of this is that the fourth estate seem entirely indifferent to the implications. There may be honourable exceptions, but the coverage I've seen so far has not so much been dismissing any concerns, as not even acknowledging them in the first place.

    We don't need to go Godwin here: monolithic moods that next-to-nobody dared question at the time range from beatifying Diana to locking up IRA pub bombers who weren't. And when you've seen that pattern repeated time and again, or at least read a little history, you can't help asking yourself how it happens.

    Turns out, very easily indeed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 688 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Lawyer Andrew Geddis adds his analysis (h/t Idiot/Savant) and concludes by quoting Matthew Palmer on our constitutional culture:

    I am not confident that New Zealanders currently understand the rule of law or, in a crunch, would necessarily stand by it as a fundamental constitutional norm.

    The other three constitutional norms I characterise as fundamental are each reinforced by a salient dimension of New Zealand constitutional culture: representative democracy by egalitarianism; parliamentary sovereignty by authoritarianism; and an evolving unwritten constitution by pragmatism.

    The rule of law and judicial independence is not reinforced by a New Zealand cultural value.

    Auckland and Ecan's unconstitutional dismantling at the hands of the same players seem relevant - but we saw how little fuss or consequences they attracted.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15752 posts Report Reply

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